Quote of the day: Commodification of humor

eats shoots 'n leaves

From Lewis H. Lapham , writing at Tomgram:

We have today a second Gilded Age more magnificent than the first, but our contemporary brigade of satirists doesn’t play with fire. The marketing directors who produce the commodity of humor for prime-time television aim to amuse the sheep, not shoot the elephants in the room. They prepare the sarcasm-lite in the form of freeze-dried sound bites meant to be dropped into boiling water at Gridiron dinners, Academy Award ceremonies, and Saturday Night Live. “There is a hell of a distance,” said Dorothy Parker, “between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it.” George Bernard Shaw seconded the motion: “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.”

Twain didn’t expect or intend his satire to correct the conduct of Boss Tweed, improve the morals of Commodore Vanderbilt, or stop the same-day deliveries…

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